Silver Sword Philodendron (Philodendron hastatum)

Philodendron hastatum, also known as the Silver Sword Philodendron, is a highly sought-after epiphytic aroid that can redefine the look of any vivarium.

This vining plant loves to climb and is easy to care for, making it a great choice for both beginners and experienced plant keepers alike.

Philodendron hastatum offers unique colors in its leaves and growth pattern, adding a robust ornamental quality to any pet home.

Quick Stats:

Scientific Name: Philodendron hastatum

Family: Araceae

Common Names: Silver Sword Philodendron, Shovel Philodendron

Habitat:  Jungle

Height: Up to 5ft

pH Range: 5.5-7.5

Temperature: 65°F-79°F

Lighting: Bright

What Is Silver Sword Philodendron?

Philodendron hastatum is a popular vining Philodendron that produces strong roots for support.

This plant is an epiphyte, meaning it will attach to tree bark in the wild and can grow rapidly if provided the correct amount of light and humidity.

Its leaves have an outstanding texture with a velvety, green hue, and feature stripes and silver variegation.

It’s a fast climber with lower aerial roots that make providing support ideal.

The Silver Sword Philodendron hastatum | Plant Care Guide

Silver Sword Philodendron Facts

Philodendron hastatum is native to tropical regions of Central and South America where it grows in a jungle-like environment.

It’s a hardy plant that can survive a great deal of neglect, making it an ideal choice for both novice and experienced plant enthusiasts.

This plant has the capacity to grow 5 feet tall and is a great choice for an established terrarium.


Philodendron hastatum is a popular epiphytic aroid that loves to climb in a terrarium space. The leaves of this plant are shaped like a sword and can grow up to 10” long and 4” wide.

The foliage can be velvety green, striped with a silver-green hue. Aerial roots grow on the underside of leaves and are typically white in color.


Philodendron hastatum is native to tropical regions of Central and South America, specifically the Amazon Basin. It is found in wet, dense jungle terrain clinging to trees or growing near streams.

Wild specimens are known to reach 5 feet in height, but in a controlled environment can more easily reach 3 feet in height.

pH Preference

This Philodendron does best in a slightly acidic media that range from 5.5-7.5 pH. It can live outside of this range, but the optimum pH level is best for its growth.

Vivarium Type

Just like most Philodendrons, Philodendron hastatum can do very well in a variety of vivarium types.  Although there is no determined enclosure that it must be placed in, some might be better than others.

The amount of space available is one of the most important things to keep in mind when making a decision.

In addition, Silver Sword Philodendron should also be provided with tropical, moist, and well-drained terrain areas. Here are recommended vivariums it will do well in:

    • Paludariums – Half aquatic/ half terrain-based enclosure.

    • Terrariums – Fully terrain-based enclosures with little to no aquatic features.

Vivarium Placement

Philodendron hastatum is an excellent option for terrariums with high humidity, such as rainforest or jungle-themed vivariums.

It may be placed towards the base on soil or driftwood or added to the upper layers.

It needs to be provided with something to climb or it will become top-heavy and break off at the stem.


Philodendron hastatum thrives in soil-less media such as sphagnum moss and coco coir. It can do just as well in the traditional terrarium soil mix, preferably with an added perlite or bark substrate.

The substrate should not be dense and should be able to retain light moisture.

Avoid using potting soils or commercial mixtures with too much perlite, as these will not retain moisture or provide adequate nutrition levels.


Philodendron hastatum does best with bright filtered light. It does not require direct sunlight, as this may scorch the leaves. 

It will still benefit from low light levels of around 5,000 to 10,000 lux, which shouldn’t be difficult to achieve in a vivarium.

terrarium lightings, such as LED grow lights or a combination of fluorescent and incandescent bulbs is best for this Philodendron in a terrarium setup.

Buy Silver Sword Philodendron

When shopping for Silver Sword Philodendron, expect a few key indicators you are buying the best quality plant. The plant should be insect free along with any other types of pests.

Try to avoid any browning or wilting leaves. Those are usually signs of poor health and could make it harder for the plant to survive.

Click the image below to find out more about the current price and other relative info about this plant:

Silver Sword Philodendron Care & Propagation

Philodendron hastatum is a relatively easy plant to maintain and propagate. This plant typically multiplies from the base, but cuttings can also be taken from aerial roots.

Be sure to use sterile, sharp scissors to ensure a clean cut. Plant the cutting into soil, moss, or coco coir, providing support, such as a moss pole, for the stem to climb and attach to.

How To Grow

Philodendron hastatum grows best in warm to hot temperatures of around 65°F to 79°F, with an ideal humidity level between 70-90%, which can be easily achieved in a terrarium. 


The plant prefers to be in moist soil and water on an as-needed basis, typically once a week.

Overwatering can cause root rot, and therefore the top inch or so of soil should be allowed to dry out before watering.

Fertilizer should be used once a month but reduce feeding during the winter months.

Plants Similar To Silver Sword Philodendron

Adding diversity to an enclosure is key to an aesthetically pleasing setup. Try mixing up the look of your vivarium with different flora that can easily co-exist in the same types of environment.

Furthermore, if for some reason you find this ivy hard to acquire or would like to consider something similar to this plant… Here are some other vine plants you might find may do well with or in the place of Silver Sword Philodendron:

Epipremnum aureum N'Joy Pothos | The Plant Care Guide
Satin Pothos (Scindapsus Pictus 'Argyraeu')
English Ivy (Hedera Helix)


In conclusion, Philodendron hastatum is a great option for any vivarium enthusiast looking to add a unique and striking plant to their setup.

It is relatively low-maintenance and can tolerate some neglect without harm. It is best suited for tropical and rainforest styles of terrariums that provide the right light and humidity levels. It should also be provided with something to climb on for full effect.

With proper care and attention, this beautiful and easy-to-care-for aroid can thrive and provide a show-stopping statement in any pet home.

Frequently Asked Questions

Yes, Philodendron hastatum is a rare species of philodendron and can be difficult to find in nurseries.

Yes, Philodendron hastatum is the correct scientific name for a Silver Sword Philodendron.

– Water philodendron hastatum plants deeply, allowing the soil to dry out between waterings
– Place philodendron hastatum in a spot that receives bright, indirect light
– Fertilize with a balanced liquid fertilizer diluted to half-strength once a month during the growing season (BONUS)
– Mist philodendron hastatum weekly to help maintain optimal humidity levels
– Prune back any yellow or damaged foliage as needed
– Re-pot philodendron hastatum every two to three years to prevent root crowding

It typically takes Philodendron hastatum approximately 23 years to reach full maturity.

Yes, Philodendron hastatum is a climber, or vining type, of Philodendron. It can be trained to grow on a pole or trellis, and various other climbing structures.

Philodendron hastatum is endangered due to habitat destruction caused by deforestation, road construction, and urban development in the Brazilian Atlantic forest where it is native. It is also threatened by overcollection from its natural habitat for the ornamental plant trade.

The common name for Philodendron hastatum is Silver Sword Philodendron.

A silver sword philodendron needs bright, indirect light in order to thrive. It does not tolerate direct sunlight.

The leaves of your silver sword plant may be turning yellow and falling off due to a variety of factors, such as too much water, not enough water, lack of nutrients, pest infestation, or excessively high temperatures.

Yes, it is possible to propagate silver sword philodendron in water. The best way to do this is to take cuttings from the existing plant and place them in water. This will allow the roots to develop and the cutting to eventually form its own plant.

To make a silver sword philodendron bushier, trim the stalk to encourage growth, move it to a welllit area, and water it regularly. Pruning the plant‘s stem can also help it to produce more foliage. Additionally, fertilizer should be used to maintain healthy growth.

Cut silver sword philodendron stems just above a node with a sharp, sterilized pruning shears or scissors.

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